One of my favorite holidays is approaching followed immediately by one of my least favorite days of the year: Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
I like to eat. I hate to shop. I love jellied cranberry sauce. I strongly dislike waiting in lines. I desire to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude in my heart and home. I want to put to death the covetousness that dwells in my flesh in obedience to God’s Word.
Immediately following a day that is supposed to be dedicated to giving thanks for what we have is a day that offers deals on everything we don’t. People will wait in lines, sleep outside, and fight with each other to get the best value on stuff that no one really needs but seemingly everyone wants.
As we get closer to Black Friday I am thankful that the greatest value is something that I don’t need to wait in line for or wrestle out of someone else’s hands. Neither do you.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 that knowing Christ was the greatest value. The entire Bible bears witness to the great news that people can know God, be known by Him, and make Him known in this world. This is truly the greatest blessing, honor, and privilege.
When we first start to get to know God we find He is more amazing and awesome than we could have realized. However, this knowledge keeps getting better and better! The more I hear about the glory of God in the gospel the more amazing it becomes.
The more we get to know God the more He should consume our thoughts. Born-again Christians should be moving steadily toward a place where they can think of little else other than God, who lives and reigns and who gave His only begotten Son to be a propitiation for sin. What else is there?
Knowing God. Being known by Him. Making Him known to the world. This was no small theme in Paul’s writings.
In the epistle to the Galatians Paul wrote of his astonishment that they were turning to another gospel, which was no gospel at all. In the process of turning to a different gospel the Galatians were turning away from the person of God. Paul urged these Christians to walk with the Spirit of the living God because they knew God and were known by Him.
To the saints in Ephesus, Paul wrote of the glory of God’s plan to give His children a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. Paul prayed that they would be unified in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.
Paul prayed that the believers in Colossae would be filled with knowledge of God’s will so they would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, please him in all respects, bear fruit in every good work, and increase in the knowledge of God. Paul expressed his desire for these saints to have a full assurance of understanding that would result from a knowledge of Christ.
Paul explained to the believers in Thessalonica how their knowledge of God led to their sanctification. This was in contrast to those who lived in accordance with their lusts because they didn’t know God.
Similarly, Paul warned Titus of the empty confession of those who claimed to know God but whose deeds demonstrated they did not. He further warned the Thessalonians of the dreadful consequences coming upon those who did not know God compared to the glorious hope for those who did.
Paul wrote to the saints in Rome that God’s judgment was upon unbelievers because they suppressed what was known about God in their unrighteousness. Paul understood that the world was not able to come to know God on its own. God was pleased to have people come to know Him through the proclamation of the gospel. Since the knowledge of God is manifested through Christians, Paul took the proclamation of the gospel seriously. He sought to tear down anything that was raised up against the knowledge of God.
Paul wrote to Timothy of God’s desire that all be saved and come to knowledge of the truth—knowledge of the one mediator between God and humanity and what people must do to receive Christ as Savior. Paul encouraged Timothy to remain faithful. Jesus was faithful not just to Paul but also to Timothy. Paul encouraged Timothy that this knowledge wasn’t one-sided. Jesus knows those who are His.
Paul was consumed with the knowledge of God. He wanted to know Christ. He wanted others to know Christ. He wanted to destroy anything that would hinder people from coming to know Christ. He did everything so the knowledge of Christ could increase. He thanked God that even when his own circumstances were difficult or seemingly contrary to the good, the knowledge of Christ was expanding. That was a reason to celebrate.
Do you know Christ? Are you known by Him? Are you making Him known in the world?
There is nothing better. Nothing is more valuable.
[Some of this article is adapted from Chapter 5 of The Forgotten Officer]